The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 10, 1971, Page PAGE 5, Image 5

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    William F.Buckley, Jr.
More on the countdown
The current issue of the
Reader's Digest features an
article by Charles J. V. Murphy
called "Our Strategic-Arms
Advantage is Fading Fast." Mr.
Murphy was for many years
with Fortune Magazine, and
among the fields he specialized
in was that of strategic arms. It
was he who did the first
definitive account of what
happened at the Bay of Pigs;
and, subsequently, it was he
who documented that the great
missile lag of 1960-1961 was
not our own, but the Soviet
Union's. It is his finding now,
that the United States is at this
moment somewhere between
parity with the Soviet Union as
a first class power, and a
second class power. And any
way you look at it we are in
motion - down the scale
towards the second rate.
Situation Worse
The current issue of
National Review features an
analysis by Charles Benson,
identified only as a consultant
for aeronautics firms, in which
he reasons that the impending
situation is a great deal worse
than the public supposes. Not
only are we behind,- he says,
but the defense we speak about
- the ABM that squeaked
through Congress last year - is
simply not up to the burden
imposed on it, of securing our
Minuteman sites so as to
prevent the Soviet Union from -achieving
a first-strike
capability. Mr. Benson
proposes a complex four-stage
extension of Safeguard, which
would knock down enemy
missiles far away from shore.
Last week, in a television
studio, I put the questions
directly to Dr. Edward Teller,
whose scientific achievements
no one has ever questioned:
and he said it very plainly.
That the Soviet Union is fast
moving towards a first-strike
capacity, and that there is
nothing the United States now
has on the drawing boards that
will change this. I asked him
whether he was at liberty to
reveal whether he (or anybody
else he knew of) was at work
on something this side of the
drawing board, that might bail
America out, an ace up
America's sleeve. He replied
that yes, he and others were at
work on such a thing, but that
he could not say "whether it
would come up an ace, or a
deuce." A deuce would not do.
And then Dr. Teller
ventilated a complaint he feels
very strongly. It is against
scientific secrecy. The Soviet
Union has secrecy and makes
enormous scientific progress,
to be sure. But, he says, if you
are going to have secrecy, you
need to have totalitarianism in
order to justify secrecy. To
have secrecy, in combination
with freedom, is to mix two
incompatible concepts.
Open Policy
Dr. Teller appears to favor
giving out almost all of the
scientific-military information
which we now conceal. The
principal argument for
continuing to conceal it is that
by divulging it, we notify the
potential enemy that we have
it, and he is then spurred on to
speculate on how we managed
to get it. Dr. Teller grants that
that is an argument, but
disputes that the force of it is
sufficient to overcome (except
in special circumstances)
arguments to the contrary.
And anyway, he points out, we
are here dealing in only one
category of secret information.
What about the others?
His conviction is that the
United States Government, by
systematically moving to
disclose what we know, would
accomplish two things. The
first is to circulate among
scientists in the free world
information that would greatly
ease the work they are engaged
in, cross-fertilizing ideas
whence new and vital defensive
weaponry could issue.
Secondly, he believes that the
spirit necessary to cause
scientists to come to the aid of
their country, would more
easily generate out of a more
specific knowledge of what are
the problems we face. It is
unlikely that the United States,
if it actually knows where we
are headed, will fail to generate
the political pressure necessary
to cause the Administration
and the Congress to behave
energetically. And that same
pressure, one hopes, would
ignite in the scientists of the
west something of the will to
perform that caused them to
work so effectively in the war
against Hitler.
I do not see that Mr. Nixon
can defer for much longer a
face-to-face session with the
American public on the points
here touched on. Either that,
or produce the ace up our
sleeve. Meanwhile we have Dr.
Teller's word for it that it
might come up a deuce: on
which Mr. Nixon, the
poker-player, would never put
great reliance.
3 (3FSE
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